ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. — James 'Radio' Kennedy, who became famous for his love of T.L. Hanna High's football team and whose life story was turned into a Hollywood movie, has died, friends and family confirm.
Multiple media outlets reported Sunday that Kennedy passed away Sunday at the age of 73.
"He was just a fine, fine man," former T.L. Hanna football coach Harold Jones told the Anderson Independent Mail. "We will miss him incredibly."
Earlier this month, Kennedy had been hospitalized suddenly. He had been suffering from pancreatitis and also diabetes and kidney issues. WYFF reported he'd been taken back to the hospital Saturday and passed away hours later.
In the 1960s, Jones noticed a young Kennedy, who at the time was a student, and became friends with him. In 1965, he became a fixture on the sidelines of games for decades to come.
He soon became one of the most well-known people in town and a beloved figure of the football team. Eventually, his story was told to the nation in an article in Sports Illustrated.
That article attracted the attention of Hollywood producers, who created a script about his life. In 2003, that became the film "Radio" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Kennedy. It centered around Kennedy's relationship with Jones, who's played in the movie by actor Ed Harris.
He is a member of the T.L. Hanna Athletic Hall of Fame.